Indian students in the UK

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Indian students in the UK, year-wise

2010-15: Indian students in UK universities

The Times of India

Kounteya Sinha

May 19, 2015

UK sees 50% dip in Indian students since 2010

The number of Indian students traveling to the United Kingdom for studies has fallen by a whopping 50% since 2010, latest statistics have revealed. New research from London First and Price Waterhouse Coopers has found that international students are a boon to the UK, bringing a net benefit of £2.3 billion to the economy from London universities alone.

However, the key areas of concern raised by students include the closure of the Tier 1 (Post Study Work) visa route which is the main reason for Indian students to explore countries like Canada and Australia for higher education besides a very short "grace period" between graduation and expiry of their student visa during which time students would need to find a job offer from an employer that could sponsor them under Tier 2 in order to remain in the UK.

The report says that "since the 2009/10 academic year, the number of international students from India has fallen by 50% whereas the number of international students from China has increased by more than 50%".

This fall saw the number of Indian students in UK in 2013 dipping to as low as 19750 making up only 6% share of total students. Even then, Indians made up the second highest chunk of international students n UK.

Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of Universities UK said that Indian students were being put off by an unwelcome visa regime. "A number of worrying signs remain - not least the continued decline in Indian students - almost by a remarkable 49% between 2010 and 2012," she said.

Interestingly the latest analysis by London Calling dismisses the myth that international students are a burden on public services, such as the NHS.

Instead, they were shown to contribute a total of £2.8 billion through the spending they bring to the country, while only consuming £540 million in public spending.

The report recommends "UK should follow the lead of other countries such as Canada and Australia and stop classifying students as immigrants. They are here for a short time only and by choosing to study in the UK, they are contributing to jobs, growth and cultural understanding in this country. The government should reinstate the automatic option or make it easier for international students to work here for a few years after graduation".

International students in UK universities come from over 190 countries. The UK is just below the US in terms of the total number and diversity of international students in its higher education institutions. Around 30% of international students across all UK HE institutions were of Chinese descent (87,895 out of a total international student population in UK HE institutions of 310,195) with other common nationalities including India (6%), Nigeria (6%), and Malaysia (5%).

In total, during the 2013/14 academic year, international students contributed £1,003 million in fee income to London universities. The report said "We estimate that the direct income from tuition fees contributed £1,317 million to UK GDP; £717 million directly, £183 million via the supply chain and £417 million via the spending of employees.

In addition, the £1,003 million in tuition fee income from international students generated a total of 32,800 jobs. We estimate that, in total, friends and relatives that visit international students in London spent £62 million in 2013/14. This spending will contribute £65 million to UK GDP".

In 2013-14 there were almost 67,500 international students attending London universities - making up 18% of the total student population in the capital, and 22% of the 310,000 international students across the UK. The decline in Indian students choosing to study at UK universities has been flagged up as a worrying trend as a new study said that international students coming here contribute nearly 2.3 billion pounds to the British economy every year.

2014: 3rd in generating London's revenue

The Times of India, Oct 22 2015

Some facts, Indian students in the UK; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, Oct 22 2015

Kounteya Sinha  Indian students 3rd in generating London's revenue

Indian students in London were the third largest revenue generator for the city last year, contributing £130 million. London mayor Boris Johnson's first-of-its-kind analysis has found that Indian students paid £56 million in fees and nearly £74 million in living costs, with the money creating and supporting 1,643 jobs. But the report also confirms a major fall in Indian students in the UK -from 10% of all international students in London in 2010 to around 4% in 2014. While Chinese student numbers have grown by 49% since 2009-10, the Indian numbers have continued to decline, falling by 11% year on year.

“Indian students coming to London and the rest of the UK have approximately halved over the last five years,“ the report says.

“In 200910 London welcomed 9,925 Indian students which fell to 4,790 in 201314.“

Kevin McCarthy , head of Study London, told TOI: “Indian students, like Indian businesses, play an important part in London's economy . Our research shows they are a key contributor to the £3-billion international students make to the economy . The recent fall in Indian students has clearly had a negative impact on their contribution to the UK economy“.

International students studying at London universities last year provided a £3 billion boost to the UK economy . China was the biggest contributor (estimated spend: £407 million), followed by the US (£217 million). Money spent in the UK by international students created 37,000 jobs, according to a new report by London & Partners, the mayor of London's official promotional company . Spending by international students increased by 18% compared to four years ago and by 98% when compared to 2005-06.

Students from the US were the highest contributors per capita, spending £33,600 per year on average. In 2014, London had welcomed over 106,000 international students.

2014: Number of Indian students in universities 10% lower

The Times of India, Jan 16 2016

Kounteya Sinha

No. of Indians in UK univs fell by 10% in 2014

The number of Indian students at British universities fell by 10% in 2014 in a blow to the country's education sector. According to latest figures released, the US is now sending more students to the UK than India, pushing it down to third slot in the rankings.

In 2010, 9,650 American students enrolled in British universities, while 23,970 Indians secured admissions there. The number of American students increased to 10,205 while that of Indians fell to 10,125 four years later.

The British Council has described the dwindling numbers as “alarming“.

The number of Chinese students increased from 44,805 in 2010 to 58,845 in 2014.

The UK's decision to scrap the post-study work visa has been described as one of the reasons for the fall in the number of Indian students. Prime Minister David Cameron has refused to reintroduce the visa.

Scotland has written to Cameron expressing surprise and disappointment over his refusal to reintroduce post-study work visa. Indian students in London alone were third largest revenue generators for the city with £130 million contribution in 2014.

London mayor Boris Johnson's analysis has found Indian students paid £56 million in fees and nearly £74 million in living costs. The money created and supported 1,643 jobs. “Indian students coming to London and the rest of the UK have approximately halved over the last five years,“ he said.

Student nos. decline. 24,000 in 2010> 10,000 in 2016

Indian student numbers at UK univs fall sharply: Report September 12, 2018: The Times of India

Increasing worldwide competition to attract international students has led to a sharp fall in the number of Indian students coming to UK universities, a new report commissioned by the government warned.

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) had been tasked by the UK Home Office to study the impact of international students in the UK and recommend any changes to the country’s visa regime that might be required. But while it acknowledged the sharp drop in Indian student numbers in recent years, it sought to blame that largely on “adverse” media coverage. “The UK’s market of students from India has fallen sharply in recent years, while it remains stable for students from China. The number of students from India fell from a peak of 24,000 in 2010-11 to fewer than 10,000 in 2016-17,” the report notes, which it says reflects a fall by 11 percentage points since 2010.

“This is probably connected to the ending of some sponsor licences and the change in the post-study work offer. There has also been adverse coverage of the UK as a place to study in the Indian press,” it adds.

It recommended an overall easier transition from student to work visas for talented applicants, including extending the limited post-study leave period from the current three to six months for Masters students. But it dismissed the need for an exclusive poststudy visa route, seen as central to attracting students from countries like India.

University chiefs have been campaigning for a dedicated post-study visa route, most recently with representative body Universities UK proposing a new ‘Global Graduate Talent Visa’ to allow qualified international students to work in a skilled job in the UK for a period of two years after graduation.

2018-19/ an increase of 42%=

NAOMI CANTON, August 24, 2019: The Times of India

Number of Indians in UK for studies and work up sharply

LONDON: Unperturbed by Brexit and the discontinuation of the two-year post-study work visa, Indian skilled workers, tourists and students are flocking to Britain.

The number of Indian students choosing to study in Britain has shot up 42% in the past year (July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019) and the number of Tier 4 (student) visas issued to Indians is now at its highest level since 2011-2012 at 21,881, according to the latest immigration statistics released by the UK home office.

In 2011 Theresa May, when home secretary, abolished the two-year post-study work visa that had made Britain an attractive place for Indian students. That had led to a 55% drop in Indian student numbers coming to Britain, from 51,218 in 2010-2011 to 22,757 in 2011-2012. It went down further to 15,388 in 2017-2018.

Perhaps drawn by the weak pound, “immigration statistics, year ending June 2019”, also show that more than half a million (5,03,599) Indian nationals received visitor visas to the UK. Chinese and Indian nationals together accounted for just under half (49%) of all visitor visas granted with the number of Indian visitor visas granted up by 48,907 (11%) on the previous year. The statistics reveal that Indian citizens got the fourth-highest total number of UK visas of all nationalities in 2018 — 1.45 million. Only Americans, Chinese and Australians got more.

India retained its place as the top country being granted Tier 2 (skilled work) visas with 56,322 granted in the past year, significantly more than any other country. The next highest was the US at 9,693.

The number of Tier 1 visas being issued to Indians also increased between July 2018 and June 2019 to 306 compared to 216 the year before. In that period, apart from other categories of Tier 1 visas granted to Indians, 12 were granted Tier 1 (investor) visas — “golden visas” that can be bought for £2 million — and 72 Indians received Tier 1 (exceptional talent) visas.

“These new visa figures underline the strong UK-India relationship, especially the people-to-people links and, of course, the business-to-business connections that are driving our shared prosperity,” said Kevin McCole chief operating officer, UK-India Business Council.

“Indians are clearly making an increasingly invaluable contribution to UK life — business, academia, and society generally. As the UK leaves the EU, there is definitely scope to deepen these links and grow the Indian impact in the UK,” McCole said.

“We’re delighted to see the increase in numbers of Indian students coming to the UK and can confirm we feel this on the ground with the sheer number of enquiries our team is dealing with on a daily basis,” said National Indian Students & Alumni Union UK founder and chairperson Sanam Arora.

“Brexit has played a big part in the revamped hope for a post-study work visa, but more importantly it is the motion moved by Boris Johnson’s brother Jo Johnson (an MP) that has really instilled hope amongst Indian students that Britain is indeed welcoming them again,” she said.

Jo Johnson has tabled an amendment to a bill, making its way through Parliament, to re-introduce the two-year post-study work scheme. Currently students can stay for six months after they graduate. “A word of caution to all Indian students though — there is a widespread rumour being deliberately spread by unscrupulous actors that there is now a two-year post-study work visa in the UK. Many students are basing their decisions to come to the UK with this as a key factor. We have clarified this in a number of forums and issued an advisory as well,” Arora added.

2019: 63% rise in Indian students

Nov 29, 2019: The Times of India

There has been a 63% increase in Indian student visas to UK as per the latest immigration statistics.

According to a media release issued by the British High Commission, New Delhi, the latest UK Immigration Statistics show that over 30,000 Indian students received a Tier 4 (study) visa for the year ending September 2019 — up from almost 19,000 the previous year. India is second only to China, which also recorded a 21% increase from that of last year.

The commission termed it as remarkable as the rise yearon-year is almost four times as fast as the global rate.

The latest statistics also indicate that more than 5,12,000 Indian nationals received visit visas to UK — a 9% increase compared to the previous year.

Overall, it is estimated that more than 1 in 5 of all UK visas go to Indian nationals and 90% of Indian applications are successful. This is higher than the global average. Indian nationals also accounted for nearly 51% of all Tier 2 visas granted globally – with over 56,000 Indians receiving skilled work visas in the reporting period.

High commissioner to India, Dominic Asquith, said: “Once again the statistics show that more Indians are choosing to study at the UK’s world-class educational institutions. This is now the third consecutive year in which the numbers have increased. It is important to us, because these young leaders of tomorrow will reinforce the living bridge that connects India and the UK.”

2019: a 93% rise in new students

Naomi Canton, February 28, 2020: The Times of India

The number of Indian applicants to obtain visas to study in Britain shot up by 93% in 2019 even though the popular two-year poststudy work visa scheme is yet to restart. According to the UK Immigration Statistics, 37,540 Indian students received a Tier 4 (study) visa in 2019, which is a 93% increase from 2018 when 19,497 visas were granted. This continues the strong upward trend in student visa numbers since 2016.

Indians are now the second most common nationality granted Tier 4 (study) visas after Chinese and the fastest growing nationality for student visas in Britain. Chinese nationals received the most Tier 4 visas in 2019 at 119, 972, accounting for 42% of the total.

The 2019 figure is the largest number of visas given to Indian students since 2011 when Theresa May, then home secretary, abolished the two-year post-study work visa, leading to a 55% drop in Indian student numbers coming to Britain, from 51,218 in 2010-2011to 22,757 in 2011-2012.

In September last year, UK PM Boris Johnson announced that the two-year post study work visa would be reintroduced from the summer of 2021. It will allow international graduates to stay in the UK to work or look for work after they finish their studies. Graduates will also be able to switch into skilled work visa routes once they have found a suitable job.

Indians also now account for half of all skilled work visas granted in the UK. Out of 113,958 Tier 2 (skilled work) visas granted in 2019, half of them, namely 57,199, went to Indian nationals in 2019. This was an increase of 3% on the 2018 figure of 55,479.

Almost half (45%) of the total number of Tier 2 visas granted by the UK were intra-company transfer visas.

There was also a notable increase in the number of visitor visas granted to Indian nationals, up 37,516 (8%) to 515,026 in 2019. Chinese and Indian nationals together accounted for just under half (48%) of all visitor visas granted that year. In 2019, 95% of Indian nationals who applied for a UK visa were successful, an increase of 5% on the previous year.

Jan Thompson, acting high commissioner to India, said: “This phenomenal increase in student visa numbers is testament both to the UK’s world leading education system and to the exceptional talents of Indian students.”

Earlier this month, the UK launched a new points-based immigration system — a new single global system that will treat EU and non-EU citizens equally, giving top priority to those with the highest skills, including scientists, innovators and academics. The points-based immigration system takes effect from 2021.

2022: Indians overtake the Chinese

Nov 25, 2022: The Times of India

Indians overtake Chinese as largest group of foreign pupils in UK: Report

London : Indian students have for the first time overtaken Chinese as the largest group of foreign students studying in the UK with a 273% hike in visas granted over the past few years, according to the country’s official immigration statistics released on Thursday. 
The UK home office data collated by the office for national statistics (ONS) reveals that Indians also continue to be the top nationality granted visas in the skilled worker category, with 56,042 granted work visas in the past year. Indian nationals also represented the highest number of visas at 36% of the total under the tailored Skilled Worker Health and Care visa targeted at medical professionals, reinforcing Indian contributionto the state-funded National Health Service.

“There were 1,27,731 (study visa) grants to main applicant Indian nationals in the year ending September 2022, an increase of 93,470 (273%) compared to 2019 (34,261),” the home office said. “Chinese nationals were the second most common nationality granted sponsored study visas in the year ending September 2022, with 1,16,476 visas granted to main applicants, 2%fewer than the number seen in 2019 (1,19,231),” it said.

The new Graduate Route visa introducedlast year to allow international students the chance to stay on and work at the end of their degree was also dominated by Indians — accounting for 41% of visas granted. The special High PotentialIndividual visa, launched in May to attract the brightest graduates from the world’s top universities around the world to work in the UK, also saw a 14% grant to Indian nationals despite no Indian university being on the approved set of top global universities. 
The statistics show that study visas for Indian, Nigerian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi nationals, are now all more than three times higher than they were in 2019, seen as a major factor behind the UK’s immigration figures hitting record levels over the past year. The overall ONS data shows that net migration to the UK rose from 1,73,000 in the year to June 2021, to 504,000 in the year to June 2022 — an increase of 3,31,000 post-Brexit.



Saurabh Sinha, Nov 27, 2022: The Times of India

New Delhi : Indianstudents have outscored the Chinese as the single-largest nationality to get the most UK student visas this year, soon after totting up a similar US record.

The UK issued nearly 1. 3 lakh students visas to Indians in the year ended September 2022 — 273% more than the 34,261 in the same period of pre-Covid 2019, according to UK Office for National Statistics data. The numbers are in line with the post-pandemic trend of Indians being the largest group to flock to the world’s most-sought after education destinations. 
The Chinese, the largest single group of foreign students in the UK in the decade from 2010, are now at Number Two, with Britain issuing them about 1. 2 lakh visas.

The US Embassy in New Delhi had r ecently announced that it had issued “a recordbreaking 82,000 student visas in 2022, higher than any other country. ” Indians comprise nearly 20% of all international students in the US.

UK government data show that a total of about 4. 8 lakh students visas were issued in the year to September 2022, 77% more than in pre-pandemic 2019 and 24% more thanthe same period last year.

“There were 127,731 grants to main applicant Indian nationals in the year ending September 2022, an increase of 93,470 (+273%) compared to 2019 (34,261). Chinese nationals were the second most common nationality granted sponsored study visas in the year ending September 2022, with 116,476 visas gran ted to main applicants, 2% fewer than the number seen in 2019 (119,231),” UK’s Office for National Statistics said.

The Chinese topped sponsored study grants between 2010 and the year ended June 2022. Before the release of official numbers, British high commissioner to India Alex Ellis had this August said “Indian nationals were issued the largest number of UK study, work and visitor visas in the y earendi ng June 2022”. If Indians students have made a beeline to Britain, so have desi holidaymakers.


Naomi Canton, February 16, 2024: The Times of India

London: The number of Indian students applying for undergraduate degrees in Britain has fallen as they are getting put off by the high cost of living, accommodation shortages and negative govt rhetoric.

Figures released Thursday by UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service), which handles admissions to full-time undergraduate education, show that for the first time since at least 2008, the number of Indian students applying to undergraduate degrees has fallen. 
 In 2023, 9,130 Indians applied by the Jan 31 cut-off point, but in 2024 only 8,770 had. 
There has also been a decrease in applicants from Nigeria (-45%) and Pakistan (-10%). The highest increases are from Turkey (+38%), Canada (+14%) and China (+3%).
The overall number of international students for undergraduate places has increased by just 0.7%, with 115,730 students applying by the Jan deadline for Sept 2024 entry, compared to 114,910 the previous year.

Amit Tiwari, president of Indian National Students Association UK, blamed the strong pound and high cost of living in UK for putting off Indians. There are major accommodation shortages. I have heard of 10 Indian students sharing a room,” he said. “Very few undergraduates are also finding permanent jobs after they graduate. The glossy brochures are not matching the reality,” he added.

Sanam Arora, founder and chair of National Indian Students and Alumni Union UK, blamed the decrease on recent changes that are creating a perception of UK as not wanting international students.

Economic impact of Indian students

As in 2020

Naomi Canton, ’13 UK varsities could go bust if desis stay away’, July 6, 2020: The Times of India

Univs Could Lose Between £1.4bn And £4.3bn In Income: Report


British universities could lose anywhere between £1.4 billion (Rs 13,000 crore) and £4.3 billion (Rs 40,000 crore) in income from enrolment of Indian students because of the pandemic, potentially causing 13 of them to go bust if there is no bailout, a report published by the Institute for Fiscal Studies warns.

Around half of the usual quota of international students aren’t expected to enrol for courses in UK universities this September, states the report. “I would not be surprised if there was a 50% drop in Indian students this September,” Amit Tiwari, president of the Indian National Students Association UK, said. “They pay three times what domestic students pay, and so this will have a devastating impact.”

According to the report titled “Will universities need a bailout to survive the Covid-19 crisis”, the overall loss of income because of a drop in international students is estimated to be between £3 billion (Rs 27,000 crore) and £19 billion (Rs 1,77,000 crore).

Last year, 37,540 Indian students joined British universities. But according to a survey by the National Indian Students and Alumni Union UK, 64% of those who have applied for a place this year, including many who have offers, do not have adequate information to reach a decision yet on whether to enrol. They are concerned about whether courses will be online as well as about travel and quarantine restrictions and local lockdowns.

“They don’t want to pay big amounts of money to study in Britain if the course is part or fully online,” alumni union chairperson Sanam Arora said. “That is why many have not paid their deposit.”

Eighty per cent of Indians surveyed said they wouldn’t enrol if teaching moved wholly online. Around 55% would accept their places if the courses were initially online and then offline, and the fees were discounted. Cambridge University has announced all lectures will be delivered online for the next academic year while London School of Economics has said all its lectures and large-group teaching will be online in autumn term.

Students also want assurances they will get repatriated if international borders are closed and that they will not be be left penniless and starving if there is a local lockdown or a second wave of infections, Arora said. These apprehensions stem from reports about Indian students being left in dire straits in Britain during the first wave of the pandemic.

Inappropriate conduct

2021-23: Plagiarising admission essays

January 10, 2024: The Times of India

‘In UK, Indians make up highest no. of int’l pupils plagiarising admission essays’

Naomi Canton

London : The number of students caught plagiarising personal statements on their undergraduate applications to British universities has doubled in the past two years, with the highest number outside the UK coming from India. There were 7,300 applications flagged for plagiarism in 2023 and 3,559 flagged in 2021; 765 of the 7,300 in 2023 were submitted by applicants from India, a spokesperson for Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) said.
The country of origin where plagiarism of personal statements is highest, outside the UK, is India, followed by Nigeria, Romania and China, according to UCAS. Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU), the University of Greenwich and Birmingham City University had the highest number of applicants flagged for plagiarism. UCAS chief executive (interim) Sander Kristel said: “We have made it very clear that generating all or a large part of your personal statement from an AI tool such as ChatGPT... could be considered cheating.”
An Indian student told TOI: “There are tonnes of organisations in India and China called education consultants who help students write their own personal statements.” Scores of advertisements on social media from companies offer to do research papers, essays, dissertations, even “maths, physics and chemistry” for a fee. Sanam Arora, founder and chair, National Indian Students & Alumni Union UK, said: “We have been warning students against using such unscrupulous assignment helpers for many years.”

Length of stay in the UK

2016-17: Most leave after their degree course

Most desis quit UK after their degree course, August 25, 2017: The Times of India

The majority of Indian students who go to the UK for higher education tend to leave at the end of their course, according to official data released on Thursday .

Between April 2016 and April 2017, 7,469 Indians left before the expiry of their student visas, with only 2,209 seeking extension, the UK's Office of National Statistics said.

The data also confirms a massive drop in the number of Indians choosing the UK as a destination for education. Indian students accounted for approximately 7% of visas granted in 2016, and around one in five in 2010.

See also

Indians in the UK

Indian students in the UK

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